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The Poetic Genius of Nigel Blackwell

by Mike Singleton - Mikeydred 28 days ago in song reviews · updated 28 days ago

Half Man Half Biscuit Lyrical Perfection

I think I was first exposed to the genius of Nigel Blackwell when I heard "All I Want For Christmas is a Dukla Prague Away Kit" by his band Half Man Half Biscuit . Nigel’s titles often skewed more famous song titles but are filled with the observations of minutiae in the mundanities of everyday British life from the 1980’s to today.

This is going to be littered with lyric snippets from the Half Man Half Biscuit lyric project which contains the lyrics to every song by the band , which can just be read stand alone, and a few videos so you can hear what I am going on about.

The above song came from the album “Back In The DHSS” , and apparently the story goes that Nigel went to Geoff Davies with a list of song titles, Davies said he would fund the album based on that, Blackwell came back with the master tape which apparently cost all of twenty pound to make.

This was the initial song listing on the album:

"God Gave Us Life"

"Fuckin' 'Ell It's Fred Titmus"

"Sealclubbing"

"99% of Gargoyles Look Like Bob Todd”

"Time Flies By (When You're the Driver of a Train)"

"I Hate Nerys Hughes (From the Heart)"

"The Len Ganley Stance"

"Venus in Flares"

"I Love You Because (You Look Like Jim Reeves)"

"Reflections in a Flat"

Then they hit the top of the Indie Music Charts with “Dickie Davies Eyes” with it’s opening line “Mention The Lord of the Rings One More Time and I’ll More Than Likely Kill You” and it continues on it’s lyrically destructive way behind a lovely descending keyboard motif. They then briefly split.

They were asked to appear on The Tube several times but they refused as “Tranmere were playing at home”, never ones to go one tours or pander to the normal routes to success , but they have continued on and produce a new album each year , full of relevant observations of where we are today , with more than a little dark humour.

Now for some examples of Nigel’s writing

From “Upon Westminster Bridge”

If Jesus came to Earth today

They’d crucify him straight away

Upon a cross of MDF

And they’d use No Need For Nails

Oh help me Mrs Medlicott

I don’t know what to do

I’ve only got three bullets

And there’s four of Motley Crue

From “For What Is Chatteris” , almost a love song

One way system – smooth and commendable

Go by bus – they’re highly dependable

The swings in the park for the kids have won awards

The clean streets acknowledged in the Lords

But what’s a park if you can’t see a linnet?

A timetable if your journey’s infinite?

My bag’s packed and I’m leaving in a minute

For what is Chatteris without you in it?

From “Evening Of Swing (Has Been Cancelled)”

I fell asleep amongst the boulders strewn between

Glyder Fach and Glyder Fawr

And I saw in a dream

Your charmless associates in a stretch limousine

They were plunging headlong into a ravine

And your Evening of Swing has been cancelled

From "The Bastard Son of Dean Friedman"

Apparently Dean Friedman did a response to this , Dean is anti Trump and Bush so a good guy

And they mocked me in my mocks and embroidered in my socks

The bastard son of Dean Friedman

The bastard son of Dean Friedman

Supercalifragilisticborussiamönchengladbach

And you can thank your lucky stars that you’re not

The bastard son of Dean Friedman

The bastard son of Dean Friedman

These are just a few snippets of Nigel’s wonderful writing. I don’t expect everyone to appreciate his work , but his words always cause enjoyment to me along with his great scouse sense of humour. The musicianship may not be perfect but the lyrics are razor sharp and sometimes you don’t know whether to laugh or bleed as some of them are very dark but still funny., like the one above.

Half Man Half Biscuit are one of the few bands where I buy a new album as soon as it is released, and that is how much Nigel Blackwell impresses me.

song reviews

Mike Singleton - Mikeydred

I write , I blog , I read , I walk , I love music & lots more.

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